Showing posts with label Wagah Border. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wagah Border. Show all posts

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Gurgaon-Amritsar Weekend Trip

When husband was fretting over how to spend time over the long new year weekend (30 Dec’17 to 1 Jan’18), we made an impromptu trip for Amritsar. Since Gurgaon to Amritsar is more than 480 km and keeping the dense fog in mind, I was apprehensive about a road trip. But who argues with husband when he is so adamant to drive!

We left from Gurgaon at 5am and took our first break at Pehalwan DhabaMurthal for breakfast. Needless to mention the wow-someness of paranthas served with white butter. Two glasses of tea worked like desserts. (Diabetics please avoid tea here).

We filled ourselves to heart’s content (rather tummy’s content) and resumed with the road trip. It started getting foggy and we slowed down for quite a long stretch, which made our journey unnecessarily longer. (In winters avoid driving. Hop in a Volvo instead). 

The route we took was Gurgaon- Dhaula Kuan- Azadpur- Murthal-Ludhiana Bypass- Amritsar
We crossed 5 tolls and spent Rs 638 in all for both sides. (So much for a road trip. Phew!) Highway is smooth but road construction in few places made the ride bumpy and slow. You can expect such erections and diverted traffic at any time of the year. Apart from few places and diversions, rest of our ride was even. 

Amritsar Gate

A non-stop drive by enthusiastic husband brought us to Amritsar by 2:30pm and we checked into Hotel Pegaam by 3 pm. Without wasting much time, we rushed to Makhan Singh Restaurant on Majitha road for lunch, which was nearly 4 km from hotel.

It was sheer foolishness to pick a hotel by reviews on Zomato. Makhan Singh was not only disappointing by taste but by pocket as well. It was too expensive! An order of fried fish, palak chana and 5 tandoori rotis got us a bill of Rs.700 plus. Husband (being a non-vegetarian) said fried fish was ordinary and not worth the price. Palak Chana looked good but tasted bland. The only thing that I could taste was chilly. Our huger died and we left the place unsatisfied. The place is over-hyped for sure. (Found later my stomach was upset after eating here)

A late lunch and long dive had left us tired. We returned to Pegaam, unpacked and crashed at 7 pm to wake up next day at 6am. Pegaam’s restaurant service starts at 8 am, so we walked down to the main junction, 500 meters away, and had tea at the tiny road side tea stall. A steamy cup on a cold winter morning felt heavenly. Rickshaw wallas, auto drivers, early risers and us, all had tea outside the same shop. Clearly, tea can create good bond without the boundaries of caste, religion, money or culture.

Soon post freshening up at Pegaam, we left at 8am for an action packed day. (Husband’s priority was Wagah Border). We preferred hiring a rickshaw instead of an auto, as that helps you explore the city well. Rickshaw ride costed us Rs. 50 from Hotel Pegaam to Jallianwala Bagh premises. 
 The moment we stepped out of the ricky, hunger bells rang. We choose Bharawan ka dhaba for breakfast.

Bharawan da dhaba

The board read “SINCE 1912” and I knew the food would be authentic. Well, they exceeded my expectations.

The first bite of aloo parantha was beyond expression. True bliss I must say. Next on our plate was paneer stuffed special Amritsari kulcha with choley (chickpea) curry. It turned out the BEST breakfast ever! Fresh, hot, loaded with white butter, and balanced spices, we could not ask for anything more heavenly.

Breakfast was followed by visit to Jallianwala Wala Bagh.

This is public garden (in)famous for brutal massacre by British Army’s Gen. Dyer on 19 April 1919. He had ordered mass shooting where people had gathered for Baisakhi celebration and peaceful protest against arrest of two national leaders.

Thousands of innocent people lost their lives and the gruesome bloodbath had sent a shock-wave across the nation. Dyer’s act was condemned and he was removed from the British Army command. The bullet marks remain on the walls of the garden and a memorial dedicated to the deceased has been constructed. In-fact lot of artefacts have been constructed with the Bagh off-late.


Amar Jyoti- A contibution made by Indian Oil Association in Jallianwala Bagh 

The memorial in the center of the garden

The premises of Golden Temple has got a nice face-lift recently. With newly constructed roads and organized shops, it is a pleasant experience to roam around. E-rickshaw facility has also started, to curb pollution. You know you are in the Amritsar when modern blends with tradition. The well managed crowd, neat lanes and colorful shops add to your belief. It feels homely and warm.

Impulsive hogging and lots of window shopping occupied most of our time during the day and we headed for Wagah Border ceremony at 12.30 pm as our pass was waiting at the check post.

What followed was a thrilling adventure and adrenaline rush at Wagah Border. Read the post on Wagah Border Beating Retreat Ceremony here. . 

Monday, November 30, 2009

My travel diary

My current job ,demands traveling out of Delhi often. Though I have frequented many places a number of times, there are two places which I long to visit again.

Recently I was on an official tour to Agra. Amid the busy schedule I found some time to enjoy and laze around .It became a nice holiday rather. Since I had seen Taj Mahal before, I asked my colleague to visit the massive Agra Fort. I had no idea how was it going to be, but I swear I was speechless the moment I entered it. The huge monument still stands tall with pride and sets a remarkable example of perfect ancient architecture. Be it the Deewan-e-khaas , Deewan-e- Aam , Jahangiri Mahal,Sheesh Mahal or the entry gates for the Army, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the fort comprising a blend of white marbles & red sand stones. My colleague agreed with me that ancient engineering has no equals and nobody can reproduce the magic with the same grace and perfection. Some portions of the fort are not accessible to the public, of course for security reasons .The portions which are open for all, are masterpiece of creations.

I am too fond of sweets. So I hogged Agra’s pethas. I was surprised to see a huge variety like Angoori petha, Chocolate petha, colorful petha and so on…..I had a feast with pethas and hot kachoris with finger licking “aaloo ki subzi ” 

My official tour to Amritsar happened to be my first visit to Punjab. Visiting Amritsar was a wonderful experience, even better than what I had heard and read. I wonder why is the Golden Temple not one of the Seven Wonders of the World? Left spellbound again by the lovely construction of the Gurudwara, I appreciate the efficient management which controls the crowd so well and keeps it running 24×7. The Gurudwara also called Sri Harmandir Sahib is home to the shelter less and treats all castes-religions with equal love and request. I was touched to see physically challenged people working and helping the temple management since they believe that seva to mankind is seva to God.

From Golden Temple we headed towards Wagah Border the same evening. The place was overcrowded much more than what I had expected. The sunset ceremony which takes place daily is a spectacular event which I witnessed that day. The tall BSF rangers from India proudly walked at the gate while the audience hooted and cheered enthusiastically. The black uniformed Pakistani Rangers were seen walking with the same pride and attitude. Post the 1947 partition, Wagah village, controversially lies half in Pakistan and half in India. Both the countries host colourful functions on their sides. The flags are lowered at sunset and the rangers confront each other after the gate opens. It was a wonderful sight to watch. With the loud thump of the rangers, my heart was pounding loudly. I was full of pride for the nation and for the Armed forces who have left no stone unturned to keep the country’s honour.

Not to forget the people in Punjab- cheerful, helpful and open hearted. I couldn’t digest the amount of butter I was served with each meal yet I loved the local food.(Can never forget Phirni, lassi, sweets and parantha). I felt so safe in the new place which I never felt in Delhi despite having spent 6 years here. Such was the lovely connection I made with Amritsar in mere 1 day and the memories will be cherished forever.

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